Letters

Letters 02-08-2016

Less Ageism, Please The January 4 issue of this publication proved to me that there are some sensible voices of reason in our community regarding all things “inter-generational.” I offer a word of thanks to Elizabeth Myers. I too have worked hard for what I’ve earned throughout my years in the various positions I’ve held. While I too cannot speak for each millennial, brash generalizations about a lack of work ethic don’t sit well with me...Joe Connolly, Traverse City

Now That’s an Escalation I just read the letter from Greg and his defense of the AR15. The letter started with great information but then out of nowhere his opinion went off the rails. “The government wants total gun control and then confiscation; then the elimination of all Constitutional rights.” Wait... what?! To quote the great Ron Burgundy, “Well, that escalated quickly!”

Healthy Eating and Exercise for Children Healthy foods and exercise are important for children of all ages. It is important for children because it empowers them to do their best at school and be able to do their homework and study...

Mascots and Harsh Native American Truths The letter from the Choctaw lady deserves an answer. I have had a gutful of the whining about the fate of the American Indian. The American Indians were the losers in an imperial expansion; as such, they have, overall, fared much better than a lot of such losers throughout history. Everything the lady complains about in the way of what was done by the nasty, evil Whites was being done by Indians to other Indians long before Europeans arrived...

Snyder Must Go I believe it’s time. It’s time for Governor Snyder to go. The FBI, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EPA Criminal Investigation Division are now investigating the Flint water crisis that poisoned thousands of people. Governor Snyder signed the legislation that established the Emergency Manager law. Since its inception it has proven to be a dismal failure...

Erosion of Public Trust Let’s look at how we’ve been experiencing global warming. Between 1979 and 2013, increases in temperature and wind speeds along with more rain-free days have combined to stretch fire seasons worldwide by 20 percent. In the U.S., the fire seasons are 78 days longer than in the 1970s...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Biathlon
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Biathlon

Erin Crowell - December 6th, 2010
Biathlon, By Golly! Hot shots combine skiing and target shooting at Crystal Mountain
By Erin Crowell
Cross country skiing. It’s a wonderland excursion, swooshing through the white woods on a freshly groomed trail – breathing with the rhythm of every push and glide, silence enveloping…then suddenly… pop! pop! pop!
Screams, laughter and a paint-plastered target.
It may not be the intense, competitive sport we saw in Vancouver this past winter, but the new biathlon course at Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa has all the same elements – just substitute bullets with paintballs and medals with high fives.
Happening every Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., participants can strap on a pair of cross country skis or snowshoes and test their marksmanship skills by shooting at a group of targets via paintball marker while walking or skiing along an off-road trail.
“We don’t like to use the word gun,” says Janice Davidson, recreation manager at Crystal Mountain, explaining the terminology behind “marker.”
A set of paintball markers are stationed at each target: five circles on a vertically-propped board, set off at different points along the looped trail. One loop takes approximately one hour to complete, says Davidson, who adds that the course is not intended to be a race.

SKI & SHOOT
Long before the first organized biathlon competition in Norway in 1776 (then called patrol races), people have been combining skiing and shooting -- since around 3000 B.C., when the technique was used for hunting purposes. Rock paintings depicting hunters with bow and arrow on sliding timber have been found near Roedoey, Norway; and writings describing the technique date back to Roman, Greek and Chinese historical writings.
From there, it transformed into a means of warfare – with military patrols popping up throughout the Middle Ages. By the end of the 19th Century, several countries including Germany and Switzerland had soldiers on skis.
It wasn’t until 1960 when the sport made its first Olympic appearance, which was then a team competition. Instead of the light .22 rifles, athletes shot with a Winchester Model 70s large Army rifle caliber. The targets: cardboard.
The sport gained momentum in 1992 when it was broadcast live on television during the winter Olympics and included a category for women.
A lot has changed in biathlon, but it still remains a fairly ambiguous sport to the general population – making it a truly unique winter activity.

FUN FOR ALL
“This is for anyone who enjoys paintball and wants to shoot at some targets or just enjoy a family friendly activity,” says Davidson. “You just need to be eight years or older to shoot the marker.”
Because the course is not timed, participants do not have to feel rushed. A two hour reservation block allots ample time to focus on target accuracy and completion of the course.
This summer, Crystal Mountain invested in a paintball course. Davidson says they worked closely with TC Paintball of Traverse City in setting up the course and acquiring the necessary equipment.
“We wanted to expand upon that,” says Davidson. “With the success of this summer, we decided to offer (paintball) as a weekly activity. We have the equipment in hand now, and we have everything to facilitate it.”
The biathlon course at Crystal Mountain combines two sports, each from a Michigan season, into an activity that anyone can try. It’s one more addition to a variety of off-hill amenities offered at the resort, which include everything from dog sledding and surrey rides to ice skate lessons and family bonfires.
“Just come out and do it,” says Davidson. “Even if we don’t have much snow this year—which we will—you can always walk the course.”

Writer Erin Crowell is a part-time employee in the recreation department at Crystal Mountain. The Crystal Mountain paintball biathlon course is open every Sunday, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., with advanced reservations required. Please allow 24 hours to reserve your spot. Cost is $25 and includes paintball equipment, two-hour snowshoe or cross-country ski rental and trail pass. Crystal Mountain Resort & Spa is located off US-31 at 12500 Crystal Mountain Dr. in Thompsonville. Visit crystalmountain.com for details or call 800-968-7686 ext. 7000.
 
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